Normally, when Telstra announces a new plan for any service, we carefully comb over the details to work out just how consumers might end up worse off. But its newly-announced landline plans actually sound relatively reasonable -- albeit still deals you could beat on a mobile-only plan with a little research.
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Telstra has three new no-contract landline plans on offer, at $40, $50 and $85 a month. All include line rental and unlimited local calls; the $50 and $85 plans also include unlimited STD calls. The main benefit of the $85 plan is unlimited calls to mobiles as well. If you want to pay $15 extra a month on any of these plans, you can make unlimited landline calls to 32 countries as well.
The big issue with landlines is paying for calls to mobiles, and that problem hasn't entirely gone away here. Call costs to Australian mobiles on these plans are capped at a maximum of $2 for 20 minutes, which is great for chatterboxes but isn't any help at all for brief calls. The shortest call to a mobile (one minute or less) costs $0.79 on the $40 and $50 plans.
If you have decent mobile reception, a cheap prepaid plan is likely to handle all your needs without needing even the extra $40 a month for the cheapest plan in the new range. But those options could be (and have been) a lot worse.
Making a house call: Telstra’s new land line plans [Telstra Exchange]